So many observations, so little time. The first of today’s highlights was a green woodpecker collecting ants from the edge of the lawn. There are signs of ant activity-little mounds of soil and bare patches, and in the mounds now there are beak marks. I used to put ant powder down-but saw the error of my ways, and enjoy woodpeckers instead. The second highlight was watching a sparrowhawk swoop across the garden about 6 feet away from where I was planting. This attack was unrewarded, but what a fine sight.
I have been pondering food chains in the garden for some time, since I saw the lovely parasitic wasp in my new bee hotel, to be precise. You may recall I understood how things are in balance, given half a chance, and if something is living in an area, it must be eating something and being eaten. The solitary bees are feeding on nectar and pollen and laying their eggs, and the parasitic wasps are going to be keeping the bees in check, and no doubt birds will be eating the wasps et etc. You know it goes, food webs are amazing.
So the woodpecker and ants, the sparrow hawk and sparrows or blue tits seem to have the balance pretty well sorted but I found yesterday’s discovery more uncomfortable. On the patio, three blackbird chicks, five days old. All dead. Fallen from their nest above the patio doors in a climbing rose, the place I thought they would be safe, eight feet from the ground. And in the rose, cat hair. The nest was tipped up. Just don’t ask me to like cats, that’s all I’m going to say. Not even a little bit.
But the blue tits successfully reared their brood, all fledging yesterday from their south-facing nestbox, fixed on the wall just 12 feet away from the carefully camouflaged blackbird nest. And the chaffinches brought their brood to the bird table as well.
Picture from 2008-no camera handy for yesterday’s very fast emergence.